Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
Emotion and Creativity
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
Emotion is the engine that drives our actions.
Being aware of the forces emotions exert is
an important part
of the toolset the creative person has at their
disposal. How we feel, and how others feel about
the products of
always be at the forefront of the creative
from the Latin 'emovere': to move
the language of a person's internal
of being, normally based in or tied
to their internal (physical) and external
(social) sensory feeling. Love, hate,
courage, fear, joy, and sadness can
all be described in both psychological
and physiological terms. Emotion is
the realm where thought and physiology
are inextricably entwined, and where
the 'self' is inseparable from our
individual perceptions of value and
judgment toward ourselves and others.'
based in feeling and often accompanied
by physiological changes.
Need to Feel
need to feel and express emotion is part of our
daily experience. We meet, we ask 'how are you?'.
We receive the response 'great', 'OK', or 'not
so good', which,
in a single phrase, gives us the essential information
that enables us to judge how best to continue
and develop our exchange
from that point on.
shy clear of communicating their emotional
state as doing so may communicate vulnerability,
come right out and say it. Whatever our approach,
emotion is key to the way we comprehend the
are sketchy representations created with
a few keystrokes, many of which relate
to emotion. On the Internet, a smiley is
sometimes defined as an 'emoticon' (an emotive
Communicating wholly through
the written word is more difficult than the
complex and subtle aural and visual exchanges
we make through face to face contact. Smilies
are used in
contexts where communication is text based
like emails, chats, forums, and other online activities.
can quickly communicate
an emotional state in graphical form. I've
gathered some of the most popular Smilies that
refer to emotional states of one kind or
Smilies tells us that when it comes to interpreting
human emotional states, we place tremendous importance
on searching the face for the visual clues
||floods of tears
||drunk with laughter
||puzzled / perplexed
||shocked / awed
||angry and frowning
emotion is of profound importance to us all and
allows us to place certain experiences
at 'the front of the cue'.
Strong emotions like joy and sadness are associated with certain experiences
and reside in a different place in our brains than the memory of other
less powerful experiences. This allows us to quickly access the memory
events. We're all familiar with the mechanism that replays those most
powerful experiences again and again, perhaps to reaffirm what is most
important to us, perhaps to make
sense of them, perhaps to warn us off placing ourselves in a similar circumstance
Art and Emotion
we feel about visual art, music, film, or
literature defines our judgemental of it. The
written notes that may
may inform and enrich our understanding or
experience of it, but notes have
little affect on how we feel about art. How we
feel is essentially an intuitive, emotional response.
We like a thing
or we don't, and it is very difficult to convince
develop their response as an 'aesthetic'
(esthetics) from the Greek word
a branch of philosophy dealing with the
nature of beauty.
how to manipulate emotional responses is very
important for artists,
architects, composers, choreographers,
writers, designers, and the like. Those
who produce creative products must be
in touch with their feelings, as well as
being able to empathise easily with others.
I use the term 'creative products' instead
can often be
creative work produced for commercial
contexts. Without empathy, the creative product
Whether it's a painting that emotes strong
feelings, or a toothbrush that gives a
of pleasure as its design fits its use
perfectly, the 'emotional value' of the work
to its success.
of the characteristics of creativity, such as intuition,
spontaneity, a sense of timelessness and heightened
awareness, are not rooted in the intellect but
in more fundamental emotional responses. We learn
when we enjoy, we create at our best when we are
emotionally charged. Creative products that have
charge' fail to connect, and quickly fade from
Emotion, and Reason
is a tool that helps us survive, although
showing emotion may not always be to our
best advantage. As we grow up we learn
to curb the outward appearance
of our emotions, and we keep more and more of our emotional life a secret from
others. This tendency also leads some to mistakenly think of their emotional
response to life's experiences as a weakness.
related view is to see emotion as the antithesis
of reason. Emotional responses
often produce undesired
we may wish to control but often cannot.
Emotions can produce consequences or thoughts
may later regret or disagree with.
There often seems an entanglement or contradiction
between will, emotion,
Much of art, music, film, and literature
connects with these very issues.
Without the tension between rational and
content we have no drama, without feeling,
there is no value.
can argue a case for something produced within
a purely logical framework, but if we have no
feelings towards the subject, we will
on quickly to the next issue that
takes our flight of fancy. Those things that
are important to us however, always
There are those who will say 'I'm a left brain
kind of guy', they mean their response to experiences
is analytical, logical, abstracting, sequential,
rational, verbal, and digital. Others say they're
is, they have a tendency to think intuitively,
the need for conscious thought, they see relationships,
nuances, resonances, relying
on unconscious pattern-fitting and recognition
as the basis for their understanding of the world.
truth is we all use both sides of our brain,
and emotion is inextricably linked to the very
being. Our precocious ability as humans is to
learn and create. We are not single dimensional,
we all contain the seed with the promise to fulfil
a rich multifaceted potential.
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